Local school divisions have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of students needing transportation this year, giving them the ability to focus on creating new bus routes and new cleaning procedures to keep the coronavirus at bay.
Tim Hoden, director of operations for Campbell County Public Schools, said just about 2,500 of the division’s more than 7,500 students need transportation to school this year. Normally the division would transport about 5,000 students.
That decrease, Hoden said, came about because parents are providing transportation for their students and fewer students will be coming to school buildings, instead opting to participate in the division’s online-only option. Clay Stanley, assistant superintendent for instruction for Campbell County Public Schools, said 3,500 students have enrolled in the division’s 100% online option.
While developing plans for opening schools for in-person instruction, both Campbell County Public Schools and Bedford County Public Schools asked parents to provide transportation to their students if they were able.
Campbell schools are set to reopen for in-person instruction Sept. 1 for pre-K and kindergarten students, Sept. 2 for first through fifth graders and Sept. 8 for middle and high schoolers. Online instruction begins Sept. 8.
In Campbell and Amherst counties, students will be required to wear masks on buses, and only one student will be allowed to a seat to enforce social distancing. In Amherst, students will be seated in alternating window and aisle seats. Hoden said Campbell County will allow siblings to share a seat. He said a bus that typically could transport about 77 elementary schoolers or about 55 middle and high school students now only will be able to transport about 23 to 25 students, he said.